Punt Open 9th/ 10th July 2016

The UK’s biggest weekend of sport included Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and the Norfolk Punt Club Open on the beautiful Barton Broad. The weather was overcast but a good breeze was onsite to provide some great racing. Like any good British sporting weekend the rain arrived on time, but without a sliding roof to protect the competitors, the wind decided to take cover from the rain.

 

The first race started in light, marginal trapezing conditions (for the boats that had them). The start was keenly contested with places changing all the way up the Broad on the first beat. Matthew and Freddie Scott led the race from start to finish in Woodpecker, always pressed by Simon Lomas-Clarke and Rob Daniels in Swallow II. The fascinating aspect of punt sailing is the variation in boat configurations across the fleet, with an individual PY handicap given to each boat. So despite the more modern design (twin trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker) configuration of the newer, hard chine boats it is always the traditional classes that are the ones to look out for. This meant that Swallow II took honours on corrected time, Woodpecker came second followed by Hugh Marston and Caroline Dixey sailing Rushlight, in third.

 

Following the tea and cake based break between races (served up on the pontoon based club) race two commenced with torrential rain and the breeze dying even further. Despite the conditions, racing got underway as scheduled. The conditions, as always on the Broads, were reliably shifty and gusty and the front of the fleet on the water was fought over by Grebe sailed by Chris and Cliff Haslam, Swallow II and Woodpecker. Racing was close in the following fleet but Swallow II took the honours, with Rushlight second and Woodpecker third.

 

The third race started in dry conditions with Swallow II being consumed by the eager pack on the start line and fighting to get back toward the front throughout the first lap to make up the time that would be lost when the handicaps came into play. With the holiday season in full swing, Rushlight sailed a perfect race around the course and the novice houseboat helms, to take the win, followed by Swallow II and Grebe.

 

The evening was spent with other club members enjoying a barbeque in the beautiful setting of Barton Broad.

 

The second day dawned overcast with a fresh South Westerly wind. Swallow II just about recovered from an early morning pre-start swim to make the start-line. The windier conditions proved to be quite a handful in these beautiful boats with tall masts and powerful rigs. A couple of boats required the assistance of rescue crews as a combination of some big gusts at the end of the race and the final mark being close to the bank saw a capsize and a trip to the reeds. Swallow II took the win from White Eagle sailed by Punt veteran and long-time club member David Adler with sons Simon and Patrick in a great second and Rhode Island Red (Bart Edmunds and Tim Edwards) in third.

 

The wind picked up further for the final race. Swallow II were eager on the start-line and went for the duck back only to hear a silence when they were expecting a second signal from the race officer. Rhode Island Red took an early swim, just off the start line to add to the confusion. With the Broad becoming busier with holiday traffic, a group of canoeists were a little surprised to be split by a charging Punt or two. Swallow II were foolish enough to hoist their spinnaker but managed to take another win from Woodpecker and Rushlight.

 

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Norfolk Punt Club, a number of past punt sailors came from as far as Cornwall to take the trip out to the club and witness a spectacular sail past of all the competing boats, paraded in age order from the 1930 Rushlight to the more modern 2004 Woodpecker.

 

The trophy, commissioned by Swallow II’s builder in the 1930’s, was again awarded to the overall event winners Simon Lomas-Clarke and Rob Daniels sailing the same Swallow II, by the club commodore Matthew Scott. Hugh Marston and Caroline Dixey took second in Rushlight and third went to Grebe sailed by Chris and Cliff Haslam. A big thanks has to go to all those who helped on the day and in the pre-event preparation. The setting is spectacular and this traditional class and its members have to be commended for managing the complexities of racing pre-war clinker built boats with carbon rigs and twin trapezes on a small shifty and gusty pond, not to mention their welcoming hospitality.

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White Boat Open 18/ 19 June 2016

13 YBODS out  of the 14 entered came to the line on Saturday afternoon for the NPC Barton Broad YBOD Open weekend. Saturday was sailed in brisk winds from the NW – NNW 15 gusting 20mph. Two boats put in a voluntary one reef with no obvious change in performance. The wind allowed the OOD to set big courses with three long beats which sorted the contestants out well.  In the second race on Saturday afternoon after the obligatory NPC tea and cakes, the wind had got up a little gusting to 25mph. Chris Bunn took the start and set about dominating the fleet from the front. During the second round the proceedings were livened up for the race crew with Stu Rix catching the mainsheet of Cinnamon Twist (138) around one of Barton’s notorious posts (none of those on Wroxham) and the inevitable sinking occurred. No one was hurt and the boat was recovered slowly and carefully with minimal damage and no lost gear, much to the relief of all. The subsequent BBQ on the pontoons was enlivened by the repartee at Stu’s expense. 

 

Sunday was a bit of an anti-climax after that with gentle breezes from the South, gusting gently to 10mph. This gave the OOD the opportunity to get in two very long beats, and Chris Bunn’s crew was heard to remark that they had never been on a beat for more than three minutes before – the joys of sailing on Barton.

 

Chris Bunn took the Consortium Cup with Ritchie Dugdale second in Alder Kitten, and James Dugdale third in Ghost. The Whelpton Trophy, a very fine half model of a YBOD, presented to the first NPC helmsman was a tie between Daniels and Robbins, and won by Simon Daniels in Silver Blue (54) on the countback. 

 

It was a very fine weekend of sailing enjoyed by all, with Barton allowing some of the best sailing on Broadland.0N8A7995 - Copy

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River Cruiser Open 11/12 June 2016

16 cruisers turned up to play at the Punt Club Cruiser Open regatta at Barton this weekend. It was good to see several regulars plus some new faces including the Elson family in Sprite 290 and the Drew family in White Heather 317. Nothing like a bit of early indoctrination of the under-fives!!

The wind was very variable, backing and veering around the SSW and never particularly strong but a bit damp during the second race on both days. The biggest problem for the OOD was if or when to shorten course. On both occasions when it was decided to let the fleet go the full three rounds, free showers were ‘enjoyed’ by all! At least it was relatively warm. Some consolation was to be had from the constant flow of hot beverages and cakes served by Fan and James Arthur in the club tea hut.

Geoff and Rose Angell, sporting very new sails on Pippa 24 came third overall. Ritchie Dugdale in Zingara 30 took second place also winning the Achievement Trophy (for the fastest of the fast boats). Overall winner was Glynn Howarth in Beth 82, winning both the Barton Broad Challenge Trophy and the White Horse Cup.

 

Achievement Trophy:

1               Zingara                   30            R. Dugdale

2               Matilda                  300         A. Landamore

3               Breeze  177         C. Chettleburgh

Barton Broad Challenge Trophy:

1               Beth       82            G. Howarth

2               Pippa     24            G. Angell

3               Amaryllis 375    C. Tuckett

White Horse Trophy (for the overall winner):

Beth 82                  G. Howarth

 

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First Sunday Sailing

Spring sunshine and a lively southerly breeze greeted over 70 punt club members for the first Sunday racing of the 2016 season. There were a number of new boats to welcome for their first racing particularly in the White boat fleet and Bart Sawyer’s racing warm up session was much appreciated by those who needed to get reacquainted with boat handling and practising their starting technique. 
The first series saw some close racing with Kath and Ian Mason in their white boat Cupido taking overall honours in the Allcomers  just a few seconds ahead of Paul Wilcox in his laser.,Conditions got slightly more challenging after lunch with some stronger and more shifty wind conditions for the 10 starters in the Allcomers A. Staying just behind Punt 37 Gamecock over the water Liz Chettleburgh in Zephyrus  established a commanding lead over the following fleet with Simon Daniels and Peter Robbins in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. James Mason won the Allcomers B and promptly celebrated by capsizing after crossing the finishing line. James claimed the water wasn’t cold and everyone seemed quite happy to take his word for it. 
Series 3 saw Ruth and James  win the Allcomers A in Gamecock but it was the White boat fleet with 10 starters that saw the most interesting race. Heading up the first beat to Neatishead, Phil Roberts in Herald Moth found himself well to leeward and heading for the east gap. After consulting with tactician Nick Dixey they took the chance and continued through the east gap while the rest of the fleet tacked up through the west gap. The clear air paid off handsomely and Phil established a large lead which he managed to hold onto throughout. 
After a well earned tea break enjoyed by all, the last Allcomers race saw 8 starters with Liz Chettleburgh in continued good form winning by a large margin.
With such good conditions and an excellent turnout with some close racing, it was a great start to the season.

Series 1:
Allcomers (6) 1 Cupido (K Mason), 2 Piiig (P Wilcox), 3 Silver Blue ( S Daniels)
Series 2 :
Allcomers B (2) 1 Naughty but nice ( J Mason)
Allcomers A (10) 1 Zephyrus ( L Chettleburgh), 2 Silver Blue ( S Daniels), 3 Small White ( P Robbins)
Series 3:
Yare and Bure OD (10) 1 Herald Moth ( Phil Roberts), 2 Zephyrus ( L Chettleburgh), 3 Small White ( P Robbins)
Allcomers (5) 1 Gamecock (R Owen), 2 Ali Baba ( B Sawyer), Piiig ( P Wilcox)
Allcomers (8) 1 Zephyrus ( L Chettleburgh), 2 Small White ( P Robbins), 3 Silver Blue ( S Daniels)

Race Training

Sunday 1st May. Nervous about racing. Bart Sawyer will be offering some on the spot race training. BUT spaces will be very limited.
There is an opportunity to get some on the race training on the first Sunday of racing. Remember how to sail with warm up exercises on the water and debriefing after actual races. Blow away the cobwebs and get back into the grove. The Session will be run parallel to the first race then join racing for the rest of the day.
Catch the 10.30 tow out and ditch the winter blues.
Please RSVP to bart.sawyer6@gmail.com if you would like to join in, please include your boat type so we can have an idea of numbers.

NPC Powerboat Training, OOD Training

The Punt Club is running two courses for powerboat drivers, and a morning for OOD training

Powerboat Level 2, 23rd April
This is the minimum needed to be a safety boat driver on Sundays for racing. It is basically a one day assessment course (although it might be able to run into the Sunday if folk need a little extra time/help). Ian Mason will be running this and at the moment there will only be three places available.
Safetyboat Course, 17th April
This is for those who already have their L2 powerboat. This course really teaches you how to rescue all watercraft and people safely. Ideally all safety boat drivers should have this qualification. Neville Khambatta will be running this course and there are six places available.
I am afraid that we have to ask for £30 per course to cover logbooks, certificates, fuel etc. The Club’s finances at the moment (having replaced four pontoons) mean that everything needs to be self financing.
Please complete the attached form (which I hope you can actually complete online) and return either by email or post, asap.
OOD Training, 23rd April (am)
Running the racing on a Sunday is great fun and Kath Mason has agreed to help train anyone who would like to help in the OOD box on a Sunday. If you would like to join her please just let me know by email.

Rules evening

NPC Rules night flyer

Are the Racing Rules a mystery?

 Do you know the changes following the 2012 Olympics?

 Do you want to improve your racing results?

Then you need to go to

THE NPC RACING RULES NIGHT

And let multi-world-champion Mike Macnamara share his wisdom!

WHERE: Horning Sailing Club (by kind courtesy of HSC committee)

WHEN: Friday 1st April 2016: Doors open 18.30, start promptly at 19.00

The session will take 2-2.5 hours, including a short comfort break and there will be an informal gathering in the Swan afterwards.

All this for just £5 a head, including free light refreshments!

Places are limited so booking is essential.

To do so, please email Colin Chettleburgh colin@chetts.me.uk and :

EITHER pay your £5 by BACS: NPC Account number 40680966, Sort code 20-62-53 (Please put Rules and your surname as reference)

OR send a cheque to NPC Rules Night, 25 Damgate Lane Acle Norwich NR13 3DH

Contact is Colin Chettleburgh 01493 750462, colin@chetts.me.uk

WINDWARD BOAT!!!

Members Survey

Over 90 members responded to the request to complete a survey set up by the Committee. The large number and consistency of responses give the Committee some real focus to act on the areas asked in the survey. 

The attached presentation shows a summary of responses.
Members survey analysis

At the first Committee meeting following the survey, the Committee initially agreed that the following should happen;
to investigate options on improving the toilets, the kontiki, seating and shelter at the Punt Club and to consider how to fund any agreed improvements. It is likely that a mixture of specific fundraising, grant applications and future subscriptions will be utilised.
Some improvement work can be carried out without major cost during the winter working parties, but a longer term infrastructure and equipment replacement and funding plan will be prepared by the Committee and presented at the 2016 fitting out supper.

The Committee will also consider how to increase the sailing turnout from current members as well as ways to increase new members and will be looking to increase the number of social events throughout the year.

This was the preliminary outcome of the results of the survey – due to the number of useful comments from members, we will continue to analyse the results and act thereon. 

The club will also continue to feed back to the members on a regular basis through the website, newsletters and gatherings.

AGM & Laying up supper

It is the Norfolk Punt Club AGM this coming Saturday starting at 7pm at the Neatishead New Victory Hall. Please do attend to find out the latest developments at the club.
 
Immediately after the AGM is the ‘laying up supper’.
 
Details of both were included in the recent newsletter sent to members, but please contact secretary@puntclub.co.uk if you have any queries.

Punt Championships – 22nd & 23rd August

A perfect F2-3 and warm sunshine greeted the 17 Norfolk Punts who took to the beautiful Barton Broad at the start of their Championships on 22 August. 4 were from Hickling Broad Sailing Club, the rest from the host club, the Norfolk Punt Club. There was a good mixture of the different Punts; the slower and older Traditional, Hard Chine and the newest and fastest Morrisons. The event was run by an experienced team under the veteran Championships race officer, Mark Luckhurst, aided by an army of volunteers who were kept on their toes, initially marshalling holiday traffic but as the wind increased over the weekend, standing by the capsized boats, and eventually rescuing and towing in the casualties. The wind on Saturday was from the south east, diagonally across the Broad, and a course was set to include two beats.

 

Race 1 was led from start to finish by the scratch team of Simon Clayton and Jack Drew-Leventon in a borrowed Morrison, Whooper. Although father and son team Tom and Will Scott in their Hard Chine Avocet reached the 1st mark close behind, they lost out by not flying a spinnaker and were overhauled by Tom’s brother Matthew, also crewed by his son, Freddie, in another Hard Chine Woodpecker. After a great beat and closing up on Whooper, a broken kicker saw Woodpecker heading towards the reeds. However after a swift jury rig they were soon back in business. The team of Bart Sawyer and Tim Edmunds in the Morrison Rhode Island Red demonstrated some excellent spinnaker work but was eventually overhauled by Hard Chine Rainbow Trout sailed by Terry Vincent and Nick Hunter. The venerable Neville Khambatta demonstrated excellent sailing in his Traditional Punt Gamecock with James Owen, coming second on handicap, with Woodpecker third.

 

By the beginning of Race 2 the wind had increased and swung further to the east, which would make the reaches tighter and more exciting. Bill and Alison Glover in the Traditional Prawn opted for a port start but couldn’t make it, hooking their mainsheet round the bow of Whooper and capsizing on the start line. Drew and daughter Lenska Wilton in their Morrison Merlin took an initial lead, followed by Avocet and Woodpecker. Three boats capsized during the first beat, including Merlin, leaving the spinnaker-less Avocet to take the lead. Gamecock’s rudder was pulled up by the bridle, resulting in a full inspection of the reeds, but being a double-ended boat she was able to make a return to the Broad fairly easily. By the 2nd round Avocet had taken a substantial lead. Woodpecker finished second and Rushlight, the Traditional Punt sailed by Hugh Marston and Caroline Dixey, finished third on handicap, also without the use of a spinnaker.

 

Race 3 saw precautions being taken against the fresher F3 which had now steadied. Prawn was now reefed and White Eagle, a Morrison with huge masthead spinnaker, helmed by Will Adler who had never even sailed a Punt until the day before, was now being sailed three-up. Although Woodpecker took an early lead, by the second windward mark she had been overtaken by Whooper. The Morrisons Merlin and White Eagle couldn’t catch Woodpecker, who won on handicap followed by Whooper, and Merlin finished third.

 

Sunday was blowing F4 with very strong gusts and erratic wind shifts. The general direction was more from the east, so a committee boat start was set at the south western end of the Broad. Whooper had the only false start of the series so had some catching up to do or her overall 2nd position might be in jeopardy. Some seconds after the start Neville Khambatta was heard to wisecrack to the committee boat “oh, is this the start line” as he finally crossed it. There were a few casualties with Prawn retiring due to the wind strength, White Eagle due to a broken gooseneck and Jackdaw due to a capsize resulting in brothers Max and Felix Dixey pulling the sailtrack off the mast after they jumped into the sail. Drew and Elske Wilton in Merlin had tied her spinnaker sheets up so as not to be tempted to use the sail on such short downwind legs; a wise decision mirrored by all the other crews. Merlin took an early lead but by the second round had been overhauled by Woodpecker. By taking the right hand side of a beat Merlin regained the lead which was held until the end. Woodpecker was close enough to win on handicap, with Whooper third. There was a big gap between these three boats and the rest of the pack, largely due to capsizes.

 

 

By the 5th and final race it was all to play for. Why do the strongest gusts always come through just before or at the start gun? This one was of huge proportions with all sorts of consequences and missed opportunities. The boat in the overall lead, Matthew Scott in Woodpecker was so caught by the gust that he couldn’t avoid brother Tom in Avocet who, once holed, promptly capsized with Woodpecker’s tiller through her shrouds. As Matthew tried to wriggle the tiller out to try and save his tiller and rudder from snapping, the only snap he heard, and felt, was his own rib. With Avocet sinking due to the huge hole in her buoyancy tank and Woodpecker limping back home with Matthew’s inability to hold onto the mainsheet, the path should have been clear for Simon and Jack in Whooper to take the trophy from Woodpecker if she won the race. However, a capsize 30 seconds before the start put paid to the opportunity handed her on a plate as she had a lot of catching up to do with a half full boat. The Wiltons in Merlin flew off the start line. Rhode Island Red had a go at lead for a while, closely followed by Rainbow Trout, but Merlin regained the lead for the rest of the race. Some savvy tacking by Rushlight, with Hugh Marston now crewed by Felix Dixey, gave her third place behind Merlin and Rhode Island Red. With the damage resulting from this and the previous race there were 5 non-starters and 4 non-finishers.

 

The spectators were enthralled by the exciting sailing over the whole weekend and each boat received rapturous applause as she crossed the line, none more so than 10 year old Elske Wilton in Merlin who demonstrated how fearless she was in such hairy conditions; thankfully her father’s build out on the trapeze counteracting her sleight frame. It was unanimously agreed that it had been a wonderful Punt Championships under slick and safe race management, in exhilarating, if at times nail-biting, Punt conditions.Fleet at Club Champs Sat.  Poto by Robin Myerscough Fleet at Club Champs Saturday.  Photo by Robin Myerscough Pre-start manoeuvres in blustery conditions on Sunday.  Photo by Robin Myerscough Fleet at Club Champs Sat.  Poto by Robin Myerscough Whooper is just about to maker her premature start.  Photo by Robin Myerscough Champions Matthew & Freddie Scott with Race Officer Mark Luckhurst and Commodore Fil Daniels.  Photo by Robin Myerscough Elske Wilton receives her prize for 1st lady crew from NPC Commodore Fil Daniels.  Photo by Robin Myerscough150822J21010150822J21016150822J2109820150822-_FTB688120150822-_FTB705920150823-_FTB712420150823-_FTB726620150823-_FTB7302150822J21114150822J21157

Overall results:

 

1     Woodpecker (Hard Chine)                                  Matthew & Freddie Scott

2     Whooper (Morrison)                                           Simon Clayton & Jack Drew-Leventon

3     Merlin (Morrison)                                                 Drew & Elske Wilton

 

Punt Championship Trophy:                                       Woodpecker – Matthew & Freddie Scott

Progress Cup (1st boat over the water)                    Whooper – Simon Clayton & Jack Drew-Leventon

Hard Chine Trophy (1st Hard Chine)                          Woodpecker – Matthew & Freddie Scott

Cuckoo Cup (Highest placed 18year old or under)   Freddie Scott

First Lady Helm or Crew                                           Elske Wilton

First Traditional Punt                                     Rushlight – Hugh Marston